In exactly two weeks today my eldest will be 14 years old. It’s hard to remember where the time’s gone. It feels like it was just the other day that my husband and I made the frantic dash to the hospital and yet here we are today. As I drove home from work yesterday, I couldn’t help but reflect on the miracle that is my son.
Every day I see him making brave, informed choices with clear and thoughtful intent. He’s not afraid to problem solve, seek solutions, ask questions and try new things. He’s not afraid to try and work through issues himself or ask for help when needed. I love that I can see his sense of humor shining through. He makes me laugh, full on belly laugh sometimes with his wit and crazy thoughts. I can see the man he almost is….
When I was his age, I hid behind my mother, afraid to voice my thoughts. Concerned that adults around me wouldn’t listen. Fear held me back from taking on new risks and adventures.How then did I raise a child so confident and sure of himself? Here’s the thing, I believe that I actually learnt from my own inhibitions. As a child, I always wanted my Mom to make the choices for me, to ask my questions out loud and to solve my problems for me. As an adult, I swore, I wouldn’t do those things for my son, unless he got himself into a sticky situation where he needed my adult input.
Working full time in a job that I feel makes a positive difference in the world helps too. Yes, I’m actually saying that working parents can also be good role models! He sees me and my husband working hard, He sees us try and improve ourselves. He listens to us as we work through our problems regarding work and he is always there to celebrate our new learning and successes with us. He sees me working with my teams and trying to help them to think of their impact on the world.
He also has to take on a level of responsibility for himself that he wouldn’t need to if one of us stayed at home. I’m not saying go out and all work, but I am saying that as a working parent, I actually feel pretty good about my parenting (which makes a change from feeling guilty).
I’ve watched with pride as he’s walked every day after school to the local hospital to visit his great-grandmother. Not because he has to, but because he wants to. Somewhere between birth and 14 years old, he’s developed a sense of empathy. This is something so rare in so many of our youth, something that we don’t focus enough on when we’re consistently worried if they know enough literacy or numeracy skills to get to college.
I have many things in my life I’m grateful for, but the best accomplishments and the greatest achievements I have, come from the people around me. Some days when things get hairy or a little dark, I remind myself that I have been a small part of creating and supporting an individual that I believe will only enhance the world around him. I can not be prouder